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‘COCOA ACCOUNTABILITY MAP’ HERALDS NEW ERA OF TRANSPARENCY

‘COCOA ACCOUNTABILITY MAP’ HERALDS NEW ERA OF TRANSPARENCY



Mighty Earth has unveiled an interactive map of Côte d’Ivoire and an integrated database covering nearly 5,000 co-operatives in the world’s largest cocoa-producing country.

Datasets included in the Cocoa Accountability Map that have never before been made public include co-ops certified by Rainforest Alliance/UTZ and Fairtrade International in addition to supply chain information tracking Hershey’s and Cemoi chocolate down to the co-op level. Co-op information for chocolate giants like Lindt, Nestle, Valrhona, and others is also included.

“For the first time, companies and certification organizations have made their supply chain information available, allowing us – and anyone, anywhere – to trace cocoa better and faster,” said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Etelle Higonnet. 

“In an industry still battling the scourges of child labour and deforestation, transparency is a vital first step to accountability and improvement. The Cocoa Accountability Map is essentially doing what the industry and government promised they would do two years ago: create a joint monitoring mechanism for cocoa. They didn’t do it, so we are doing it for them.”

Mighty Earth’s said the Cocoa Accountability Map will break new ground and bring an unprecedented level of transparency to the cocoa industry. 

The map shows deforestation alerts nationwide in Côte d’Ivoire and will refresh automatically every two weeks, using the IMAGES platform from Vivid Economics and Remote Sensing Applications Consultants, a tool sponsored by the UK Space Agency.

It will also show the land-use for approximately one third of the cocoa region in the country and will expand to cover the entire country by around March 2020.

The map shows almost all the cocoa co-ops in the country, with almost 5,000 included along with information such as name, contact information, number of farmers, area covered, and registration number of the co-op; whether or not the co-op is certified by Rainforest Alliance/UTZ or Fairtrade International; how close each co-op is to a protected area; and who the co-op sells to, wherever Mighty Earth has that information. 

Mighty Earth has incorporated supply chain information down to the co-op level for Lindt, Cemoi, Nestlé, Hershey’s, Valrhona, and others. Mars has begun the process of providing its information. However, certain companies such as Blommer refused to embrace traceability and publish supply chain information. Some companies like ECOM have pledged to do so but have not been as fast as Nestlé and others.

“The Cocoa Accountability Map will be a tremendous tool in helping to clean up the cocoa industry,” said Higonnet. “The government in Côte d’Ivoire and industry can use this directly to check sourcing of their materials. A journalist can use this map to see where deforestation is happening before going to investigate the problem on the ground. An activist can conduct research into a problem like child labour or deforestation and then use the map to quickly get a sense of who might be buying the resultant goods. It’s a game-changer.

“We applaud the companies that have participated and thank the government of Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Agriculture and Conseil Café Cacao for their courageous leadership in providing the information about their thousands of co-ops, but more must be done. 

“The governments of Ghana, Ecuador, and Cameroon must take similar steps to increase transparency. It is a shame that Ghana is so far behind Côte d’Ivoire now. 

“Companies like Ferrero and Touton, which never responded to our request for co-op data, must follow suit. And companies like Blommer Chocolate, which refused to participate, must modernize their thinking and embrace the transparency revolution sweeping their industry. 

“Most crucially, the three largest traders – Barry Callebaut, Cargill, and Olam – must disclose the co-ops they source from.”

Mighty Earth has also issued a call to action for the industry. “The World Cocoa Foundation, European Cocoa Association, and Caobisco should develop an industry-wide protocol for complete public disclosure of company supplier data by 30 March 2020,” said Higonnet. 

“We also call on GISCO and all other similar platforms to make it mandatory for any member company to disclose their suppliers down to the cocoa cooperative by 30 March.”

Mighty Earth released the transparency tool ahead of the peak deforestation season in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana – January to March – and ahead of a key meeting taking place, where major donors and Ivorian and Ghanaian government officials will be meeting to discuss the future of monitoring deforestation for the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI). It said the Cocoa Accountability Map is a growing, evolving, and continuously improving tool, and any and all additional information sent to Mighty Earth to complete the data will be welcome.

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